Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

 INside Scoop
 IN Her Own Write
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 Screen & Stage
 Top 10 Resources
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Editorial Calendar
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover


Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer

Vote daily and raise our ranking!

January, 2008

Feathertale Review

Answering Submissions Calls
Make the editor happy
By  Corina Milic

Remember the basic rules of proper submission and you'll be published often.
You have scribbled your heart out and come up with a masterpiece. You are now ready to submit your work of genius for publication. If you are beginning to wonder why no one seems interested in Lobster And Garlic Butter: A Romance In Three Parts, then keep reading. Your story may have editors licking their lips, but the way you've presented your piece could turn them off lobster altogether.

I am the poetry and copy editor of an online humour publication with a yearly print review. Focused on publishing new writers, I read each submission predisposed in its author's favour. Yet, too often I find myself fighting the urge to reject a piece outright for some glaring error. A misplaced comma or two is one thing; misspelling the name of the magazine you're submitting to is another.

So let's make some editors happy and get Lobster And Garlic Butter published.

The Submission Letter

Whether submitting the old fashioned way or with that new fangled email, there are three things to remember.

  1. Spell check
  2. Don't swear
  3. Be creative – not self-deprecating

Let us start with correctly spelled words: I cannot overstress the importance of writing "and" instead of "nad" or "maracas" instead of "maraccas." Both Microsoft Word and email programs have easy to use spell check tools. Use them. Taking a minute to employ spell check reflects your work ethic, the quality of your writing, and how much you respect the publication you are submitting to.

Spell the editor's name and the name of the publication right. We're sensitive creatures with delicate egos who think our website, webzine, or magazine is God's gift to the world of literature. Treat us accordingly.

Swearing isn't professional. Of course there are some shaggy haired, Birkenstock wearing liberal minds out there who express their share of "screw that," but there are also a few conservative types reviewing your submissions too. So why risk it? This is an editor's first, and perhaps only, impression of you, make it positive.

The piece you are submitting with your introduction may use bad language appropriately and to great effect. But remember, swearing for the sake of swearing doesn't make your work any funnier, sadder, hipper, or more tragic.

My editor-in-chief received a letter recently which started out, "My normal poetry is either terribly cynical and rude or based on Dr. Seuss. Hopefully these poems are more suited to your publication."

Hmmm. Go ahead and use a pun or some witty banter - you want to stand out and make an editor smile. But don't tell an editor they wouldn't like most of your work or that it is not the kind of thing they would usually use. If you want the editor to believe he or she should publish you, then you need to believe it.

Instead, an email we received from a cartoonist shows a better blend of creativity and professionalism.

"Here are some cartoons; you can pick your favourite. I will be scanning some new ones this week and will send them your way. Basically I will keep sending you doodles until I am issued a restraining order from a municipal court."

There is no magic formula to writing a submission letter - it just takes a little common sense and effort.

The Submission

You can submit your work to any number of publications, but I have two suggestions for any and all submissions.

  1. Spell check
  2. Read the submission guidelines

Ah, spell check again. It is an editor's job to catch mistakes; do not kid yourself thinking they may not notice you spelled "hippopotomus" instead of "hippopotamus." In fact, a convenient red squiggly line appears under all those misspelled words in most word processors.
Edit your own writing to catch mistakes. This may mean sending it to a trusted friend or simply walking away for a few days and coming back with fresh eyes. Read your work out loud - in my experience, this is the best way to edit your own work.

Once you have the basics down, you can decide which piece to send to which publication. Note: this means you must read the publication. I'm sorry, there's no way around it. A humour website doesn't publish tragic poetry. Do you know why? Because wanting to slit your wrists is not funny. To increase your chances of being published, send magazines appropriate content.

Submission guidelines are important. Editors get swamped with material - a great way to thin a large submission pile is to throw out work by people who can't read. If the submission guideline says send in three poems, do not send in 10. If the submission guideline asks for a story of 700 words or less, do not send in the first draft of your novel.

Ask yourself, do they publish themed issues? Is the publication devoted to one genre or many?

There aren't that many rules. Remember these basics, and then when you send in ole Lobster And Garlic Butter, you will have editors eating out of your hands with a creatively professional submission.

IN Icon

When she's not editing or writing poetry, Corina Milic is a continent hopping journalist - some of her latest trips have been to Rwanda, Africa, and Suriname, South America. She currently lives in the Toronto area.

Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

IN This Issue
The Write Group
Answering Submissions Calls
Part III: Have Ideas, Will Travel
Part II: Have Ideas, Will Travel
Part I: Have Ideas, Will Travel
Part II: Early Elementary Picture Books
Part I: Early Elementary Picture Books
Part II: Are These Mistakes Costing You Money?
Part I: Are These Mistakes Costing You Money?
Journey Within Your Mind

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software

Effectively Manage Your List

Writers Digest 101 Site Award

Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers

Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.

Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."